What struck me about the meeting was its energy and warmth. There was an understanding that writing, in John Hodgson’s words, ‘is about bringing the whole world into the classroom, including feeling. We need to do more than try to prove that doing things better will improve exam results.’ All those of us involved in this group know the pain but also the deep pleasure that writing can bring to an individual and the added power that comes from being part of a community of writers and thinkers. We understand the need for a robust defence of the work we are doing and there are those of us who are engaged in work of this kind. We also want to move beyond the instrumental to a thorough engagement with the very many affordances of writing; the knowledge that if we can be expansive in our teaching of writing, then everyone benefits. Writing has the capacity to reach into many aspects of our lives: our well-being and sense of self; our agency in the world and of it; our intellectual growth and our pleasure and responsibility in being alive. In that bright sunny room in the gallery it felt as if every one of us had experienced the rich, complex, humane task that is a teacher’s, and the significant part that writing can play in all our lives.
We did discuss joint writing and research projects. Already colleagues are planning to hold shared writing days for PGCE students. We discussed various possibilities for publication which we will share with you in due course. However, the Spring Edition of English in Education 2019 will be a special issue devoted to writing. Mari Cruice and I will be guest editors of that issue and we are looking for it to be both challenging and celebratory. The call for papers will appear in the next edition of English in Education. We would love to hear from you if you have thoughts for a paper and we will welcome creative contributions of poetry and prose.
If you work in a School of Education and are interested in running a Teachers’ Writing group, and\or if you would like to be a part of this particular network, please don’t hesitate to be in touch. You might also be interested in joining us if you are a postgraduate student working on an MA or PhD, particularly if your interest is in teaching writing.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
NWP will hold its second residential – October 25th -27th in Hertfordshire.
NWP research director